Charlotte McConaghy: The Last Migration author on melancholy and writing during a pandemic

The Sydney-based novelist took inspiration from Toni Morrison to write the book she wanted to read

It’s the near future. Animal populations have plummeted and 80% of species are extinct. The forests are so rare that you need to make a booking to visit one. Commercial fishing faces prohibition and, when vessels take to the seas, their crew are increasingly desperate for one last big catch. Birds also face extinction. The Arctic terns, a species evolved to fly across the world on 40,000km annual journeys, are on their last migration to Antarctica.

Into the mix is Franny, an environmentalist and woman with a death wish. She talks her way on to one of the few remaining fishing vessels with the aim of following the last of the birds.

Related: The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy review – aching, poignant and pressing debut

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